Frisch Family Welcome Center is ready for inauguration



The Frisch Family Welcome Center stands between Howard Adminstration Building and Gooding Building.

Hannah Santos, Staff writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Roll out the green carpet and make way for future generations.

On April 18, Jacksonville University will cut the ribbon to officially open the new Frisch Family Welcome Center, where the JU community will greet new students and their families.

The Frisch Family Welcome Center construction took almost a year and a budget of $4.5 million.

Kristen Kirkendall, associate director of the admissions office, discussed the contributors who heavily supported the welcome center.

“The Frisch family, obviously, are the donors because the building is named after them,” she said. “Frances Bartlett is also a contributor, and then Haskell is the company who built it and donated some of the outdoor spaces. We’re hoping to get some outdoor furniture so that it’ll be another outdoor space, hoping that both current and future students can enjoy because we love the weather here in Florida.”

Thomas Taggart, associate vice president of student experience, shared his thoughts on the welcome center’s interior design.

“The designer of the Haskell company had a vision of wanting to honor the attributes of the university and the surroundings of the university,” he said. “You see the ceiling shaped like a wave, the lines in the terrazzo that look like flowing water like a river, and the windows kind of have a blue tint like water.”

The architectural design is meant to focus on the outside while including modern touches. Although new, Kirkendall discusses that there are still some elements that are linked to Jacksonville University’s roots.

“There was a tree that was very important to the university that unfortunately fell down during one of the most recent hurricanes, and so they reused that wood for the front desk. As new as everything is, there’s still that history and acknowledgment of the roots to JU and how we
came about.”

Another feature to be excited about is the new store, Jax Outfitters, which is expected to open just before the start of the fall semester.

Randal Freebourn, senior vice president of financial and facilities management, says the Welcome Center and store will be instrumental for the enrollment team.

“I think the group that will use it the most is admissions to drive enrollment, as well as a place where alumni may come in and get some JU apparel or JU items from Jax Outfitters,” said Taggart. “It will get a lot of traffic because it’ll probably become the gateway to the university. It’s a very special gift for the university, and we thank President Cost for making it a reality.”

Overall, the purpose of the Frisch Family Welcome Center is to create a positive environment that will make a proud first and lasting impression on students and families interested in in joining the JU family.

Robert Stewart, senior vice president of enrollment management, shares his hopes for the future of the welcome center.

“I look forward to providing families with a beautiful space that sort of represents the beauty of the campus as a whole,” Stewart said. “A window to everything. It’s sort of a starting point for what they’re going to see in their visit, and I think it represents the Jacksonville of today and
the future.”